The Internationalization of Canadian Science: Challenges and Opportunities

Conference Day: 
Day 3 - November 3rd 2017

Organized by: Daryl Copeland, CGAI and U of M CERIUM and Mehrdad Hariri, Canadian Science Policy Centre

Panelists: Daryl Copeland, Senior Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute and Policy Fellow at the University of Montreal's Centre for International Studies (CERIUM); Paul Dufour, Co-chair, Science Integrity Project and Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science, Society and Policy; Pavel Kabat, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Chibulu Luo, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto, Department of Civil Engineering.

Moderator: Jane Barratt, Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing

Takeaways and recommendations: 
  • Canada’s capacity to undertake science diplomacy and international research collaboration suffered greatly during the Harper years, and is now weak compared to most other advanced nations.

  • Canada needs a quick win to get back in the game of science diplomacy and international scientific cooperation as it prepares to: hold the G7 Presidency and host the organization’s annual meeting in Spring 2018; mount a campaign for election to the UN Security Council in 2020, and support progress towards achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

  • To attain these objectives, Canada should rebuild global partnerships and re-establish international research and innovation linkages, for example by be-joining the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an organization in which Canada was a founding member.

  • IIASA been effective in addressing wicked, transational issues such as climate change; food and water security; population/migration; management of the global commons; and sustainable energy policy.

  • Global Affairs Canada’s science diplomacy and science policy capacity needs to be strengthened and the department should be tasked with developing an international science strategy.

  • Bridge building between nations is particularly relevant in the face of challenges such as global power shift, asymmetrical globalization, rising populist sentiment, Brexit, the widening economic and digital divides and an unpredictable isolationist U.S. administration.

  • The federal government’s strong expressions of support for evidence-based policy-making, science and research have not yet been matched with financial reinvestment or substantive action.

  • The soft power of science diplomacy can bring researchers together between countries that are otherwise unreconciled, or even hostile towards one another, particularly during crises, or when regular channels of political communication are strained or non-existent.

  • If properly planned, resourced and equipped, Canada can advance its interests, promote its values, contribute to development, peace and security, and play an important role in bringing greater ambition, diversity, and geo-political balance to the internationalization of science.